Gardening offers the perfect spring and summer activity to calm the mind and quell anxiety. However, if you’re not careful, gardening can lead to back pain or make already problematic back pain that much worse.
The good news is that there are various precautions you can take to ensure you keep your back safe and can enjoy all the wonderful benefits of gardening. So, let’s take a closer look at how you can avoid back pain when nurturing your outdoor plants and garden.
Tip #1: Take Regular Breaks
In various settings, research shows the effectiveness breaks can have on reducing or preventing back pain. Back pain often arises from staying in one position too long, such as hunching over to tend to your favourite perennials. This can create strain on the structures and muscles in the lower back, leading to aches and pains.
While using the right technique to bend down (more on this in a second!) can help to some extent, sitting down to sip on some water or walking around your garden to take a break from gardening can reduce your risk significantly. Small amounts of varying activities often is another good way to look at it.
Tip #2: Kneel Down On One Knee
Gardening without back pain doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. Simply knowing how to position yourself to reduce your risk can ensure you implement proper technique and thwart any back issues. Kneeling down on one knee, as opposed to hunching forward from the low back, is a great way to take pressure off of the spine. You may also want to add a cushion under your knee for optimal comfort.
Yet, again, still take those breaks! Staying in one position for long durations is never good for the body.
Tip #3: Keep Your Gardening Tool Close to Your Body and Avoid Reaching
If you’re shovelling, position yourself so that you don’t have to extend your body to do so easily. Keep your tool close to your body to take the pressure off the low back. Holding your gardening tools, such as a rake, far from the body can actually increase the load and leave you more prone to pain. This will also prevent you from having to twist the body to perform activities, which can also increase your chances of back problems.
Tip #4: Stretch and Warm Up Beforehand
While gardening might not seem like a workout, you can actually work up quite the sweat! Consider doing a quick walk before you get to it or doing a few stretches, such as walking lunges, leg swings, or arm swings.
Tip #5: If You’ve Had Back Pain Before, Make Sure to Take Extra Care
This might mean performing regular core strengthening exercises or stretching exercises to keep your back in tip-top shape. It may also mean understanding your limits and listening to your body to avoid aggravating any previous back pain. If at any point you experience pain, ensure you take a break and attend to it accordingly.
Treating Your Back Pain
If you’re experiencing back pain, rest assured that there are many ways to treat it. Treatment of back pain may involve:
- Dietary changes
- Mindfulness practices
- Lifestyle alterations
- Massage therapy
If you’re experiencing back pain from gardening, our team at Turramurra Physiotherapy are here for you. Together, we can help you return to the activities you know and love. Contact us today to book your appointment.